Would You Read It Wednesday #243 -Riley And The Haunted Cupboard (PB)

Good Wednesday to you, everybody!

Before we get to our pitch today, I just have to share something fun… please forgive me my little moment of giddy excitement 🙂

Look what showed up on Sunday!



It’s so thrilling to see!  I think it’s so cute, and Erica did such a great job!  And I’m told that the wheel on the cover will actually spin!!!  How fun is that???

Okay.  I’m done.  Thank you for indulging me! 🙂

Let’s celebrate with Something Chocolate, shall we?  That’s your reward for listening to me gush over my book cover 🙂  Today I think we have to go with Millionaire’s Shortbread.  “Sweet simple, crisp shortbread, rich chewy, homemade caramel, and thick dark chocolate ganache…”  How, I ask, can you possibly go wrong with THAT?!  Even if you have no clue what a ganache actually is? 🙂


Recipe HERE at SugarSpunRun.com

There’s really no possible way any of us are stopping at one of those, so please help yourself to five or six to sustain you through sharing your thoughts with Traci followed by an exceptionally productive morning of writing!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Traci who says, “I write picture books and ghostly young adult full time. Ghost stories are my favorite to read and tell to my family and their friends. Social media posts, media clips, and movies that have happy animals in them will keep me entertained for hours. Promoting authors and illustrators on social media makes me happy because I want to help get quality literature into the hands of as many children as I can.”

Find her on the web at:
Twitter @1967BoldWriter
My webpage : https://boldwriter67.wordpress.com/
Facebook: Traci Bold : https://www.facebook.com/tmbold

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Riley And The Haunted Cupboard

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: What started out as fun game of hide-and-seek with his dog, Scout, turns hairy when creepy noises coming from the cupboard under the stairs force Riley to face more than one fear.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Traci improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)


Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in April, so you could get your pitch up for some helpful feedback pretty quick and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Traci is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to actually holding a copy of THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT in my hands and trying out that spinning wheel!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


80 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #243 -Riley And The Haunted Cupboard (PB)

  1. viviankirkfield says:

    Congratulations, Susanna! I LOVE the cover of your book! How exciting! We should be giving you the chocolate. 😉

    I’m taking a brief break from a very wonderful yet terrible task…I am whittling down the pool of amazing #50PreciousWords stories. There were over 250! YIKES! And they are so good! I’ve got it down to 40…was trying for 21…but I don’t think that is going to happen…I just can’t part with all 19…it was hard enough getting to 40. I’m going to try for 30, but perhaps I’ll sleep on it. It’s already 3:30am.

    Traci, I love your pitch…I would definitely read the story. You are very concise and tight…maybe you could tell us a bit more about what fears Riley has and how he deals with the situation…just a hint of the action. I know that pretty general…and I’m sure you’ll get more specific feedback in the comment thread.

    • jeannecurtin says:

      Vivian, I certainly don’t envy you for the task you have on your plate. 250 entries!! Yikes! And wow. ⭐

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thanks, Vivian – I’m so glad you like it! And my goodness girl – I know the position and condition your in, trying to whittle down entries to a manageable number – not that I’ve ever had quite as many as you have! – but take care of yourself! I hope you are sustaining yourself with plenty of fortifying chocolate! What a wonderful thing you’re doing for the writing community. And it is clear how much everyone appreciates it! Thanks for finding time to help Traci in the midst of all you’re doing. Good luck!!!

  2. Traci Bold says:

    Susanna, congratulations on the new book! The cover is vibrant. 😊

    Vivian, thank you for the suggestion about adding a hint to Riley’s fears.

    I will be checking in periodically today as I am still in NYC.

  3. kathalsey says:

    Susanna, what a fun cover! We celebrate YOU. With any and everything chocolate. Huzzah! Traci, I like the idea of a haunted cupboard and the character’s names draw me in. The “creepy noises” part captures my interest, but I want a bit more in this pitch. Can you hint at one fear or two that Riley has? And, i really hate to say this, but I could also see this as a CB, too. Good luck w/this pitch. This is your genre – scary, so go as scary as you can. Which is why I wonder if it tilts towards an older audience…hope I haven’t muddied the waters…hugs, K

  4. Jen Bagan says:

    YAY Susanna! LOVE the cover – and a spinning wheel to boot!

    Boy, Vivian … what a tough job you have! We all so appreciate the time and effort you’re putting into your contest! 🙂

    Traci – I love the concept of this pitch but I agree about expanding more on his fears and hinting at how he handles it. I also think having it all in one sentence makes it a bit too wordy and hard to follow.

    What about starting it something like – “Riley and his dog Scout are in the middle of their usual game of hide and seek when they hear creepy noises coming from the cupboard under the stairs.” Then you could do a sentence hinting at what his fears are and why/how he’s forced to face them.

    Sounds like a fun story!

  5. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, congratulations on the book cover – so much fun that the wheel will move. Parents will be buying extra copies to keep young ones amused in the car!

    Traci, I love the premise of the story & will definitely read it. Like Vivian & Kathy, I’d also like to know a bit more, especially as cupboard under the staircase immediately evoked images of THAT cupboard from Harry Potter. You may even want to delete the under the staircase reference to differentiate your book from HP. I’d also like Riley introduced before introducing Scout (another literary reference?), as Riley, presumably, is MC. When adding more, I’d suggest giving a clue or two about setting, is this is an ordinary home or an old creepy home, eg, and also something about Riley – does he share your love of ghost stories, is he generally confident, or does he have many fears.

    I look forward to reading your revised pitch & enjoy your visit in NYC; at least the temperatures have risen & the clouds are parting on the Jersey side of the Hudson.

  6. katmaz2012 says:

    Love the interactive cover, Susanna. I have a grandnephew that will be happy with this book.

    Traci, I like the pitch the way it is. You have clues, creepy and cupboard, and you leave me wanting to know, just what else does Riley fear. I don’t think you need to tell just yet. I also love the name Scout. It implies that Scout will help with the fears. (Just my opinion:).

  7. jeannecurtin says:

    Susanna, what a fun, interactive, colorful cover. I’m excited for you! Congrats🎉

    And my mouth keeps drooling over the shortbread dessert. Mmmmm.

    Traci, I would definitely read your story. I want to know what’s causing the noise. And how Riley overcomes his fears.

    I’d probably start the pitch more like what Jen Bagan (above) had suggested – with Riley starting it out.

    Riley loves playing hide and seek with his dog, Scout. But when he hears a noise in the cupboard things get hairy. Riley must overcome his fears of ? or risk ? (What does he risk losing? Maybe he’ll never play the game again?)

    Best of luck, Traci.

  8. Butterfly Kisses and Silly Wishes says:

    Susanna, your cover is adorable! Congratulations!!

    Traci, I would definitely read your story! I just wonder…are the stairs in the basement?(where Creepy lives) Or out in the light and bright foyer?(where sunshine hangs out?)
    I can tell by your posts you are enjoying New York! Have a great time!

    Gabrielle Schoeffield

    • Traci Bold says:

      Thank you Gabrielle! We are having a blast here. Heading to Central Park and New York Public Library soon. I left the imagery out to leave creative space for illustrator ,but the cupboard is under the stairs to second floor which is how Scout, scouting out candy, got stuck in cupboard.

  9. Caren Cantrell says:

    Susanna – your cover is amazing! I can so see my grandson spending an hour just spinning the circle then looking inside, then spinning the wheel again.

    Traci – I would definitely read your book. You give just enough of the essence of the story to make me want to know more.

  10. Lisa Riddiough says:

    Congratulations on your new book. The cover is so cute, and I love that the wheel spins!

    Yes, I would read your story. It is succinct and intriguing. I want to know what is hiding in the cupboard! Great job!

  11. Lynne Marie says:

    LOVE the boo cover — you must be so excited! And, LOVE Millionaire’s Shortbread! That, Ploughman’s Sandwiches, Vegetarian Haggis and of course, Scones, are a staple of mine when in Scotland. Traci — I love the pitch! It is clear and concise and I would definitely read on! Best, Lynne Marie

  12. Gregory E Bray says:

    Congratulations Susanna. I’ll be picking that up for my son. And thanks for the recipe. I’ve always wanted to make those.

    I would read this book and read it to my son. He has just started having a fear of the dark. Hopefully Riley could help my son get over his fears. Good luck!

    • Traci Bold says:

      Gregory, I feel so bad for your son. I was terrified of the dark as a kid so I can empathize with him. My dog helped me get over my fear, similar to how Scout helped Riley. Thank you for the encouraging comment!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thanks, Greg! I’m so glad you like it, and I so appreciate you considering getting it for your son! Let me know how that recipe turns out if you try it! And thanks so much for your comments for Traci!

  13. Geoffrey Hyatt says:

    Hi Traci,
    I get the feeling there is a great book behind this short teaser. Share more with the reader, and let it come through.
    1. look at each word, and think about which could be more specific, special or unique. For example, dog could be terrier; fun could be energetic, etc.
    2. cupboard under the stairs feels like we’ve been there. find a new special place.
    3. dogs don’t usually play hide-and-seek, but maybe you picked that game for a reason
    4. provide some sense of place: the big old house, grandmother’s house, uncle’s log cabin
    5. Most of all, the teaser needs something about THIS story. As it is, the story could go in 100 directions. You don’t want to make it too specific and predictable, but I think something about the obstacle, or the fears, etc. You could tell us, “face Riley’s fear of meeting people in this new town”, or you could imply (which I prefer), “After 2 months in their new town, Riley hadn’t made any friends yet, and he spent all day inside their new house, playing with his faithful terrier Scout….” (well, not well written, but hey, writing is hard!)

    Keep going – I love ghost stories and mysteries too.

  14. Lisa Katzenberger (@FictionCity) says:

    Hi Traci! I would read this! I have a couple suggestions to perhaps tighten the pitch. You might be able to just delete the word “coming.” And the “force”, “face” and “fear” all together make it sound a little repetitive. I think if you just have two F sounds you’ll get a better feeling of alliteration. Maybe switch out one of the words? And I love “turns hairy” — very cute!

  15. Susan Schade says:

    HI Susanna! GREAT cover! Thanks for sharing it.

    Yes, I would read this. To make the pitch a little stronger, I would end the second sentence after “stairs” and add one more sentence about what Riley does to face or conquer his fear.
    Something like:
    “A fun game of hide-and-seek with his dog, Scout, turns hairy when creepy noises whisper from the cupboard under the stairs. As the noises grow louder, Riley will have to _____, _____, and _____ to face his fear and (whatever else he does to resolve his problem)________.”

    Hope that helps. Nice job!

  16. Tracey Brown says:

    Congratulations, Susanna – I love the cover of your book!

    Great story idea, Traci. I would definitely read it. I think your pitch should be broken into two sentences. I know – breaking that one sentence rule! 🙂 I would introduce Riley first and the game he and his trusty dog, Scout are playing before it’s interrupted by the creepy noises under the staircase. You mention that Riley has to overcome more than one fear. Could you give us one of his fears and then hint at a greater fear he still has to overcome?
    Best of luck!
    ps I think this would make an excellent CB! Kids love mysteries and you’d have room to expand and explore this idea.

  17. Judy Sobanski says:

    Susanna, congratulations on the adorable, but also “cool” spinning wheel book cover!

    Traci – I would definitely read your book. Since Riley is with his dog, Scout, the word “hairy” as opposed to scary, threw me off a bit. Perhaps you used that word intentionally? It did make me curious! I’d like to know a little bit more about what Riley’s fears are and/or how he plans to face them. Great premise. Good luck!!

  18. jeanjames926 says:

    Congratulations Susanna the book cover is so cool, I love that it will spin, reminds me of a 45 record. The kids are going to love that feature! Traci I love a good creepy story and Riley and Scout look like they are headed for one. I would agree with expanding the pitch a little bit, and not squeeze it all in one sentence. Otherwise great job!

  19. David McMullin says:

    That book cover could not be cuter. How exciting, Susanna!

    Great pitch, Traci. I like what you’ve got here. Enough intrigue to make me interested, without telling too much. A nice balance for me. I would like to see the sentence broken up as it is quite a mouthful. I’m always interested in a spooky PB.

  20. Keila Dawson says:

    Such a cute cover Susanna! And Vivian, girlfriend…such a fun contest BUT next year promise you will form a committee, or ask people to vote…or…to help out.

    PITCH: Kids adore creepy… 🙂 For the sake of clarity I think the pitch should be more than one sentence and give us a hint about the resolution. Just a quick brainstorm. Good luck!

    Creepy noises from under the stairs frightened Riley and his dog Scout when playing a game of hide and seek. But Riley _________ (didn’t run this time? faced his fears?) because ___________ (this is one mystery he had to solve? be brave? save his dog?)

  21. Jill Richards Proctor says:

    I love your new cover, Susanna! Kids will have fun spinning the wheel…and who doesn’t love a book about trucks!

    Chocolate + Caramel + Shortbread = To die for!!

    Traci, I would definitely read your story. Scary stories are always fun to read. Your pitch certainly peaked my interest, but I have a small suggestion. ‘Hairy’ just doesn’t sound scary enough for me. What if you used ‘scary’ or ‘creepy’ instead. And in the place of ‘creepy,’ perhaps you could be more specific, i.e., ‘growling,’ ‘screeching,’ ‘scratching,’ or the like. I, also, think a small clue about one of Riley’s fears would draw more interest. Great job!

  22. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Hi TRaci!

    EXciting to hear what you are working on!! I like the idea of addressing fears with little people as I know my own kids have plenty of fears…currently tornadoes after having some turbulent weather around here. I don’t know if someone has mentioned it above already, but their seems to be a faulty construction in your sentence. The subject (the game of hide and seek) needs to be closer to your verb (turns) or it becomes confusing what turns hairy (almost sounds like Scout becomes hairy as it is written.) Hope that helps! Good luck!!👍

  23. ingridboydston says:

    Well reading this today is like a trifecta of goodness! Susanna’s fantastic cover reveal, that amazing chocolaty goodness and a pitch for a story I would read right now if I could! Well done Traci! I think it’s obvious you know what you are doing. I like the words hairy adn creepy. Hairy made me wonder if it has something specific to do with the sounds or if its just a fun adjective, and creepy is just, well, creepy! What can I say? Oh! and the bonus comment from Vivian about her contest. I don’t know how you ladies do it, Susanna and Vivian! Are your days longer? Maybe you have metric days while mine are just standard…;)

  24. Nadine says:

    Hi Traci,
    I would read it since kids enjoy spooky yet friendly tales. I have nothing new to suggest since others have said it above 🙂 But I will ask if you read the PB by Lemony Snicket titled The Dark? A mildly spooky story just like yours. The main character became empowered and handled his own fear. Perhaps it will spark some ideas as to where you can take your characters.
    Susanna, congratulations on the cover! I bet you feel amazing!!

    • Traci Bold says:

      Nadine, thank you for the kudos and input. 😊 ‘THE DARK’ is one of my mentor texts. Makes me happy you compared my story to that one.

  25. Pizzos3.com says:

    Congratulations Susanna love the cover & I can picture all the little grabby hands spinning that wheel!
    Hey Traci, great reading you in these neck of the woods. I might read it but to be honest I had to read it twice to get some clarity and then I read it out loud to myself to hear what made me hiccup. I’m thinking some descriptors can be left out that slows the pace like what about just saying under the stairs & scratch cupboard. Also maybe flip it… Lead with the scary.
    Riley has all kinds of fears to avoid but when a fun game of hide and seek with his dog Scot? Produces creepy noises from under the stairs, he’s forced to face them all.
    Love your work! 😉👍🏽

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